NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been circling the moon since 2009. The LRO collects data about the moon and sends it back to Earth,including temperature, color images, topographical information, and ultraviolet radiation readings. The satellite can transmit over 900 gigabytes of data per day, easily as much as your entire computer’s hard drive.
Even after six years of collecting and processing data from the LRO, new discoveries come every few months. Scientist are using the LRO to learn as much as they can about the moon’s geographic features, atmosphere, and geological makeup. This information will help NASA identify safe landing sites for manned lunar missions and locate resources that could be valuable for astronauts during their missions or for researchers back on Earth.